India and Israel’s “humane” strategy: Why kill them quickly when you can give them a slow, painful death?

There is some truth to India’s claims

Pellet guns overwhelmingly blind, injure, and maim, but do not instantly kill

They are, therefore, posited as more humane and acceptable instruments of crowd control

A similar logic is behind Israel’s use of rubber bullets in Gaza

The question then arises: Are India and Israel actually being more humane? Or is there a political strategy behind their decision to blind and maim Kashmiris and Palestinians, as opposed to killing them? According to Amnesty International, while at least 14 people were killed in Kashmir in 2016, thousands were injured

 Incapacitated in myriad ways from being blinded to disabled, victims have suffered the loss of livelihood, trauma and immobility – experiences that squeeze out life, gradually

Amnesty International reports: “People injured by pellet-firing shotguns have faced serious physical and mental health issues, including symptoms of psychological trauma

School and university students who were hit in the eyes said that they continue to have learning difficulties

Several victims who were the primary breadwinners for their families fear they will not be able to work any longer

Many have not regained their eyesight despite repeated surgeries

” A more appropriate way to describe these pellets and rubber bullets, then, is “lethal over time”

 The language of non-lethality is simply a rhetorical excuse by cruel governments to wage wars while carefully eliding responsibility for mass debilitation

Indeed, with the rise of human rights watchdogs, prior approaches of “catch and kill” are less plausible

States have, therefore, moved on to what gender studies scholar Jasbir Puar has described as “shooting to maim”

This strategy entails causing bodily injury and inducing mass debilitation to bring about a gradual humanitarian collapse

 Rather than killing their targets instantly, they leave them to die painful, slow deaths

Feminist scholar Lauren Berlant theorises “slow death” as “the physical wearing out of a population and the deterioration of people in that population that is very nearly a defining condition of their experience and historical existence”

Debilitated bodies become the everyday reminders of the immense capacity of the occupying force, even in its absence

The occupier is, hence, always present

This is an effective tool for the occupying state to puncture resistance, suppress dissent, and eventually break the will of the people

The state justifies its actions by using terms such as “mobs”, “thugs”, and “rioters” to describe those protesting occupation

These terms criminalise resistance and paint unarmed protesters as violent, lawless, and a public nuisance

Cultural Studies theorist Stuart Hall has described how “clearly political containment of popular protest (has historically been) effected under the ambiguous cover of ‘public order’ and its sanctions”

He points to the changing definition of “crime” as imposed by governing classes on different groups of people for the purpose of legal restraint and political control

In occupations, the indigenous always appear on the wrong side of the law

They are conceptualised as an undifferentiated mass, perpetually in a state of illegality

The state can, thus, invent weapons that are indiscriminate and undiscerning

As thousands of pellets descend upon the unarmed bodies of Kashmiris and Palestinians, the henchmen of the colonial regime – the soldiers and politicians – maintain an air of impunity by appearing as a benevolent, well-meaning force that is simply restoring peace

How ironic since there is nothing humane or benevolent about the iron pellets that pierced the eyes and face of 14-year-old Insha Mushtaq last year; or the rubber bullet that fractured the skull of 14-year-old Mohammed Tamimi last month

In the words of Kashmiri poet Muhammad Nadeem: “…these coal black eyes that were like suns, with rays of happy dreams that leaped from each lash are now bottomless black wells…” The use of pellet guns in India and rubber bullets in Israel must be banned, and militarisation and occupation must end

We must demonstrate transnational solidarity against state violence that masquerades as non-lethal and humane

In addition to tallying the dead, we need to also hold these forces accountable for the injured, the blind, the disabled, the arrested, the raped and the disappeared

And we have to remain vigilant

Occupying forces are ever so agile and nimble, adapting to human rights criticisms and inventing new forms of population control, policing and torture

India, for instance, is not only considering rubber bullets but also experimenting with chilli pepper-filled ammunition, which contains irritants stronger than those in pepper spray – all in the name of being more humane! Indeed, Kashmiris and Palestinians are brought together by their occupiers’ shared interest in slow deaths

That, perhaps, is the slyest form of extermination

This post originally appeared here

Date:25-Jan-2018 Reference:View Original Link